You have likely never thought about the fact that buses are rarely involved in crashes. Now that we have made you think about it, you probably cannot think of one time that you have personally witnessed a bus crash with your own eyes. You may see bus crashes in the news. That is because buses crashes happen so infrequently that when they are involved in crash – it makes the news.
The reason buses and other commercial passenger vehicles such as limousines, shuttle vans and similar passenger-carrying vehicles rarely crash is because they are driven by highly trained, professional drivers who hold a Commercial Driver’s License. These licenses are much harder to obtain than a basic Driver’s License. To obtain a “Passenger Endorsement” that authorizes a commercial driver to drive human passengers requires even more training as well as a rigorous testing process on the road. A single mistake during the test can cause an immediate failure. Commercial drivers with a passenger endorsement are highly trained in passenger safety as well as a having a commitment to drive with the duty of care necessary to keep passengers safe when driving.
Additionally, every journey begins with a complete inspection of the vehicle. Commercial drivers are tasked with performing a pre-trip inspection of a vehicle before ever moving it. This includes an inspection from the front to the back and the top to the bottom. It includes checking tires, undercarriages, signal lights, headlights, windows and much more. By beginning each trip with a thorough pre-trip inspection there is less likelihood of a mechanical failure or becoming involved in a collision because a turn signal lamp was burned out.
The final component involves driving techniques: Commercial drivers maintain a bubble of safety around their vehicle. They don’t tailgate. If someone is tailgating them, they move over and let the car pass. They aim their vision and road focus high when driving on highways to see what is happening way out in front of them. You will rarely find a commercial vehicle backing up. They use a system called, First Move Forward. Their vehicles are always parked in a way that makes backing up unnecessary. When crossing uncontrolled intersections, a professional driver always looks to the left first as that is the lane they will be pulling out in front of. Next, they look to the right at the curb line for pedestrians walking into their path or bicyclists riding in the wrong direction of travel. Then, another quick look to the left and then to the right for the road surface.
Commercial drivers don’t speed. They don’t generally perform sudden braking movements because they are constantly scanning the road well ahead of them and never tailgate. You can use these tips when operating any vehicle and keep yourself safe by being aware of your surroundings and following the rules of the road.